AMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 24: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees gets ready to delivers a pitch before the start of the first inning during the spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Steinbrenner Field on February 24, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Newly acquired New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole had himself a rough outing on Thursday afternoon.

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole didn’t look like himself against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, to say the least. He initially gave up a double to leadoff hitter Victor Reyes. He then allowed back-to-back home runs to Travis Demeritte and Miguel Cabrera, respectively.

Cole proceeded to give up back-to-back home runs in the second inning to Demeritte and Cabrera again. He pitched a total of two innings while allowing a whopping six earned runs on six hits. Yes, it’s spring training and it’s usually pointless to worry about bad performances this time of year. Nonetheless, seeing an outing as bad as Cole’s is never pretty.

Cole is one of the very best pitchers in the game. He just signed a massive nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees ($36 million per year). The contract made him the highest-paid pitcher in the history of baseball.

Manager Aaron Boone had said that Cole felt ill on Monday but that he came in on Tuesday feeling much better. It may be worth noting that Cole could still be feeling the effects of his illness.

Yankees fans hope Cole puts these bad outings behind him before the regular season begins, especially considering the team’s pitching staff is shorthanded. Cole already had tremendous pressure on his shoulders coming into the season because of his mega-deal.

Now that James Paxton and Luis Severino are out with long-term injuries, Cole must work even harder to pick up the slack and help keep the rotation afloat.

Cole was a solid pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates but soared with the Houston Astros. He posted a 2.68 ERA, 0.962 WHIP, 164 ERA+, and 2.67 FIP in 412.2 IP while with the latter ballclub.

During his two years in Houston, Cole was a two-time All-Star, finished in the top 10 in American League MVP voting in 2019, and finished in the top five in AL Cy Young voting both years. The latter achievement includes finishing in second in 2019 to his then-teammate Justin Verlander.

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.